2019 LMR Accessories Market Forecasted at $1.5B Partly on Bluetooth Smart Adoption
Wednesday, January 06, 2016 | Comments

Improvements for portable LMR accessories include increasingly longer battery life, faster charging batteries and better sound in speaker microphones. These improvements and increased demand have led to a market estimated to be worth $1.3 billion in 2014 and is forecast at a 2.1 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to $1.5 billion in 2019.

During the past couple of years manufacturers have started to focus on products that take advantage of Bluetooth Smart technology to provide wireless functionality. Bluetooth Smart, also called Bluetooth low energy (LE), is applied to products such as headsets in the LMR market. In heavy industrial applications where there are large machines with many moving parts, wireless connections between certain accessories and the terminals mean that there is one less cord that can get caught in the machinery. By using a wireless connection between a headset and the terminal, the radio no longer needs to be holstered on the hip and can be in a backpack or placed in another location out of the way.

While there has been increased interest in Bluetooth Smart, adoption by end users so far has been slow. One of the issues is that some end users still believe that Bluetooth drains battery relatively quickly. However, the technology, released in 2010, has considerably reduced power consumption. Another issue impeding the adoption of Bluetooth LE is that many users have limited budgets for accessories, and Bluetooth Smart products are inherently more expensive than other accessories.

Finally, many LMR manufacturers are making the Bluetooth LE in their radios proprietary so only they can provide Bluetooth accessories for those products. This has limited competition in the market for Bluetooth-capable accessories.

While these can be substantial issues for manufacturers to overcome, it will be up to the LMR industry to better educate end users on the advantages of Bluetooth Smart accessories. Dedicated accessory manufacturers will have the additional issue of having to try to enter partnerships with LMR manufacturers to produce Bluetooth Smart products. As these concerns are straightened out, IHS forecasts that Bluetooth Smart will become an important technology for headsets and other accessories during the next few years.

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On 1/20/16, Martin Harnevie said:
This article missed pointing out that it is still Bluetooth Classic that provides the headset functionality. Bluetooth LE does not support audio streaming and does not have the headset profile (HSP) and audio gateway profile.

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